Total Reviews: 3
Average Overall Score Given: 8.33333 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 2

Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War

Overall: I had played "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" ad infinitum on the PC to the point I had every corner and door creak memorized. I even gave each German a nickname. When I saw "Tides of War" for XBox I was anxious to continue the adventure. I should have known better. I was lulled into a false sense of optimism, hoping "ToW" was an alternative adventure. Unless you really, really, really loved the PC game, or have never played "RtCW" before, this is a must-have for WWII FPS fans. If you've played "RtCW" before and are looking for something more to sink your teeth into, put this back on the shelf and get "Medal of Honor Frontline" instead.

Gameplay: The ONLY major difference between this and the PC version are the opening sequences. The storyline is linear, of course, with many mini-"foozles" (IE, monsters) to kill before killing the Ultimate Foozle at the end. Lots of shooting and running; lots of sniping. And I KNOW hand grenades have a MUCH larger killing radius than this game portrays!Unfortunately, nothing terribly original. But how much hardware can one soldier carry? Your character, BJ, can tote enough hardware and ammunition to equip a heavy infantry squad. I realize there is a "temporary suspension of disbelief" needed to play some games, but with the weight of the equipment, BJ should be bigger and stronger than any number of baddies that come at him!

Graphics: The visuals are good and you do get the sense of being where you are supposed to be, IE Spring-like woodland, drafty castle, Egyptian village, etc. The beefier hardware on the XBox is taken advantage of far too frequently, though. Water looks astonishingly real, as do most of the doors and rock, but other textures suffer - you can tell when you're supposed to open a door just by looking at it from a moderate distance. There there are the painfully uncomfortable tires on the vehicles - surely a bumpy ride to the eastern front!

Audio: The Nazis were surely insane. The proof is from having to listen to the same loops of music over and over, ad nauseum, until you can knock out the radios and record players. Some of the bad guys utter the same last words their predecessors did thirteen years ago in the original "Wolfenstein 3D". I realize this isn't a German language lesson, but a few more original gasps than "Mein leiben!" or "hilfe!" might be nice - might I recommend an occasional heartfelt &qquot; As for the music, I turned it off immediately. It was distracting and not all that great.

Suggestions: Make the game less linear. Make the player make a decision on which direction to take the game plot. Make the player decide whether to keep his .45 or drop it for the Luger, but not keep BOTH. Limit the ported weapons to, for example, one shoulder weapon (MP40, Thompson, Mauser, '03 Springfield, etc) one hand held (.45 or Luger, etc) and five grenades (American "pineapple" or German "potato masher"). And where the heck are the Carbine or even the ever faithful US Army Garand??

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom

Overall: Nice diversion from splattering guts, wisecracking streetwalkers and other game elements you wouldn't want your kids to see, SpongeBob is really a pretty fun game with a few giggles to boot! Unless you're a fan of the show, or are goaded into watching it by a youngster, some of the features may go right past you. Oh, tartar sauce!

Gameplay: More than just going from point-to-point, there are some kinda challenging obstacles to overcome and different puzzles to figure out. (Mind the King Jellyfish!) Switching from one character to another is necessary to acquire some points (IE, "shiny things") and imperative to get through certain parts. Each character has different means to disable the bad guys, some more practical than others. I found SpongeBob's methods easier than Patrick's. Sometimes it becomes necessary to quickly change the camera angle at inconvenient times, though, putting the character in jeopardy. Fortunately, there are ample "power ups" scattered about.

Graphics: At first it was odd to see the characters with shading and more detail, but that's not bad either. It was probably intentional, though, that more effort was put into the characters than any of the background or bad guys. It's worth a laugh to have the character just stand still, when practical, and watch them entertain themselves!

Audio: I could understand how the same background music playing repetitively could be unnerving, but after playing for a while, its not difficult to mentally tune it out. Some effort in creating some simpler "splats" and "crashes" would have been in line, though. Surprisingly, all the character voices from the show are here, but Mr. Krabs sounds just a wee bit different.

Suggestions: Thanks for not taking the game TOO seriously for the little ones, but some of the puzzles need hints for them to follow.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Medal of Honor: Frontline

Overall: I love WWII FPS games. I loved this one, but it was over WAYYYY too quickly. The game was fun, challenging and can really pull you in, but there isn't much here.

Gameplay: I was floored from the first scene! What a way to start a game, but the overall game only covers about three months. It would be great to at least make it to Christmas '44, say around Bastogne. But "NUTS", it ends way before that. The ability to crouch and duck is handy, but impossible in vehicles (truck beds). It took no time at all to get used to the controller and I was able to react without fumbling within minutes. Trying not to give anything away, but the solution to "Golden Lion" is hilarious, even if I figured it out purely by accident! And don't shoot everything at moves, or you'll find a local civilian in your cross hairs. The end of each level shows your shot statistics, how many head shots you made, torso, right and left arm, and ... uh ... groin shots, hit percentages as well as how many times you get hit. One annoyance, though: Since when did German soldiers carry ammunition for my BAR? Or store a cluster of American hand grenades in the trunk of their Kubelwagens? Or can a bi pod-mounted machine gun take out a tank with a few turret shots? I realize it's a light tank, but c'mon! That's very accommodating of them.

Graphics: Where did all the corpses go? This is the only game I've played, so far, that the dead vanish into thin air! At least they're nice enough to leave their ammo and first aid behind. The scenes are great! The Dutch towns resemble what I would think a Dutch town would look like. The countryside is very convincing.

Audio: The sounds don't overwhelm the game; I always turn off the music on every game, though - too distracting. But some the same tired voice loops get VERY annoying. For example, in Arnhem, "Look, there's another one! Halloooooo!!" is recurring in my sleep now! It must be because I turned the music off, but the piano player must be playing for himself or he's wearing headphones...

Suggestions: Leave the dead where they drop. This isn't a "Star Trek" episode, after all. And give me more levels! Get us to the Bulge, at least.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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